We strengthen early learning and care to support children!

Quality Counts California (QCC) is a statewide effort to support young children and their families by strengthening California’s early learning and care (ELC) system. ELC is inclusive of preschool, Universal Prekindergarten (UPK), child care, infant and toddler care, and play groups or alternative settings such as library programs that serve children birth to age 5 to address their ELC needs.

To do this, QCC:

  • Supports a statewide system of locally implemented Quality Improvement Systems (QISs) and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs)
  • Educates families about the importance of quality early learning and helps them identify quality early learning and care environments (e.g., family child care home or child care center)
  • Provides access to tools and resources for quality partners like QIS and QRIS administrators, coaches, trainers, and higher education faculty

QCC focuses on quality early learning experiences because these experiences build the foundation for skills children need in school, work, and life. (Reference: Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child).

QCC Collaboration and Funding

QCC is a collaboration between First 5 California, the California Department of Education, and the California Department of Social Services.

Collaborative state and local—including the ELC workforce, families of young children, advocates, and agencies—efforts to improve the quality of ELC settings for California’s children have been underway for many years.

As of July 1, 2021, California’s QCC is a collaboration between three state agencies: First 5 California, the California Department of Education, and the Department of Social Services. The multiple funding streams provided by the agencies support the continuous quality improvement of all ELC types throughout the state.

The California Department of Education’s QRIS and QCC Block Grants and First 5 investments provide QCC the opportunity to serve a full spectrum of early learning programs, expand the reach of the QRIS, and effectively increase ELC quality throughout the state.

Federal grant funding expired, so leaders from across California took the initiative to consolidate these efforts into QCC, with funding from the California Department of Education’s QRIS Block Grants and First 5 California’s IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) initiative.

The California Department of Education was awarded a federal competitive Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant, which provided funding to develop a statewide, locally driven QRIS.